Department Policies

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Payment Policy

All fees must be paid in full at the time of registration or reservation.  All registrations and reservations are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.  Registration forms without proper payment will not be processed.  Accepted payments include: cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard and Discover.  Please make checks payable to City Treasurer.  A $25.00 service charge is assessed on all checks returned due to insufficient funds.  Once a NSF check occurs, all future payments must be cash or credit card only.

Refunds/Credit Policy

Prior to registration, ask for more information if you are unsure about your participation in a program.  Please note that by registering, you are committing to a spot in the program or activity and no refunds or credits will be allowed for cancellations.  A full refund or credit will be offered for any programs cancelled by the La Crosse Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department or if there are changes to the original schedule and the participant can no longer attend.  No refunds or credits will be issued for special events, day trips, pool passes/memberships, or shelter/facility reservations.  Click here for specific policies regarding Senior Excursions.

Fees for Programs, Activities and Reservations

Many of the La Crosse Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department’s programs, activities and facilities are supported by property taxes from City of La Crosse residents.  Therefore, City of La Crosse residents may receive a discount on activity registrations, facility reservations and other various program fees.  Customers may be required to show proof of residency in order to receive a discount, when applicable.

Class Cancellations

All La Crosse Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department programs are subject to cancellations and schedule changes.  A minimum number of participants in a program may be required.  Participants will be notified of any cancellations.

Lost and Stolen Items

The Department is not responsible for personal equipment, clothes, decorations, etc. that are lost or stolen during any program or reservation.  However, please contact our office concerning lost items, as many times they are turned in by others.  Items of value will be turned over to the Police Department after one week.  Clothing and other items will be donated after one month.

Alcohol in City Parks & Facilities

City ordinance section 34-66 (a) states No person shall have in their possession, custody or control any alcohol beverages of any kind whatsoever, in any City designated playground, public swimming areas, or on park property within 1,000 feet of any school building or play structures.  Exceptions being (b) Alcohol beverages are allowed at City of La Crosse Parks and Recreation sponsored events at City parks.  Alcohol beverages will be allowed when reserving park facilities, pavilions and picnic shelters and indicating on the reservation form that alcohol beverages will be at the event.  Alcohol beverages are allowed by Special Event Licenses or Agreements between the Board of Park Commissioners and the entity sponsoring the event.

Pets in Parks Policy 

Pets are allowed in all city parks as long as city ordinance 10.03 (K) is followed.  Pets must display current rabies tags and current registration tags.  All pets must be on a leash (8-foot max) and remain on sidewalks or designated walkways.  Please pick up after your pet!  Visit Houska Dog Park (100 Houska Park Dr.) a five acre, off-leash and fully fenced-in roaming area for your dogs to enjoy.  Pets are not allowed on splash pads or beaches. 

Facility Refund Policy

Reservation fees are non-refundable.  If you must cancel or change the date of your reservation, please contact our office at 608.789.7533.

Food Trucks/Outdoor Food Stands in City Parks

If you have a food truck or outdoor food stand, and you are looking to sell in the city, you must get a permit from the City of La Crosse Clerks Office.  In compliance with ordinance section 10-423, No person shall operate an outdoor food stand or mobile food unit without first obtaining a license in compliance with the provisions of this division.  A separate license is required for each stand/unit.  An additional permit from the Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department is required if you are selling food in any city park; daily, weekly or annual permits available.

Fundraising in City Parks & Facilities

Hosting a fundraising event in a City park or City facility?  Interested in using a park or facility for a class or program?  Then Park Board approval is needed!  All events and programs raising money, charging a participant fee, and/or having alcohol* are required to get Park Board approval to use a City park, park shelter or park facility.  It is mandatory to submit a letter of request to Christa at least two weeks prior to the Park Board meeting in order to be considered for that month’s meeting agenda.  The letter of request should include the following information: contact name, phone and email; the organization’s name and mailing address; event name; first and second choice of event dates and times; requested park, shelter, facility and/or trail(s); and a brief description of the event.  Please note that in some cases, the organization or company may need to provide a Certificate of Insurance if the program or event is approved by the Park Board.  Click here for more information on Park Board Meetings.  Don’t wait until the last minute…we recommend attending a Park Board meeting at least three months or more prior to your event!
*If the Park Board approves an event where alcohol will be sold, an alcohol permit must also be applied for and purchased from the City Clerks Office.  The City Clerks office will determine if groups are eligible for an alcohol permit.  If you are not eligible for a permit or do not purchase one, alcohol cannot be served at the approved event.

No Smoking

Section 34-73 of City Ordinance: No Smoking or Using Tobacco Products in City Parks "Smoking" means inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, hookah pipe, plant or other combustible substance in any manner or in any form and use of electronic devices with electrical ignition or vaporization (e-cigarettes/cigars or similar devices).